Every reader likes to learn more about characters as they get further into the story. How do the secrets of your characters come to life?As in life as in literature—conflict is the path to intimacy.
Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.A great deal. The human mind is really a cacophony of voices that often leaves us feeling pulled in many directions. My characters often reflect my own internal conflicts over right and wrong. Stories are where I try to work them out.
Some authors report writing 5-10 thousand words a day. Do scenes flow freely from your veins, or do you have to tweeze each word out?I have a day job as a lawyer/mediator. This forces me to take the slow and steady approach.
What led you to becoming a writer?It’s just a lot of fun and very rewarding.
Have you had to overcome any obstacles in your writing journey?There is a legend that when Michelangelo finished the Moses he was so impressed with his work that he commanded it to speak. When it didn’t, he threw his hammer at it. Writers have to throw a lot of hammers. Often what we write ends up lifeless and we just have to move on.
What are some of the spiritual themes you like to write about?Psychology tells us we need healthy self-esteem. Spiritual teachings suggest we should be rid of our “self” (not be selfish). The balancing act between self and others is a fascinating paradox. I really like the character Todd, in A Dog Named Christmas. He is intellectually challenged but overcomes his disability by having a gigantic heart. I think we sometimes let our intellect get in the way of our heart.
How long have you known that you wanted to be novelist?At a very early age, I developed a love for literature. I thought that every book was such a precious gift from its author. It seems natural to want to give that back somehow.
We’d love to hear a little about yourself and your writing journey.Although I had been playing around with storytelling from an early age, I really got into in earnest with my three children. Every night, bedtime started with “Daddy, tell us a story.” Repetitive story telling helped me build confidence in my ability to put together a simple story.
What is the hardest part after the book is published?Wondering if it will sell! It’s like the first day of high school, all over again, that sick feeling that no one will notice you or care!
What is your most difficult problem with writing at this time in your career?I'm still new to this, so I am pretty terrified that I’m just a “one shot wonder.”
What are you working on right now?I’m working on two books. One is spiritual journey book that tries to find a way to show how our religious differences are not as important as we think. The other work is the third installment of the “A Dog Named Christmas” books.
What other books of have you published?
A Dog Named Christmas was my first and now, Christmas with Tucker has just released.
How long did you work toward publication?There is great saying that behind every overnight success there is twenty years of hard work. That’s about right.
Has being an author been everything you thought it would be? If not, what has surprised you the most?It’s been great fun. I’m glad I stuck at it, persisted, when common sense would have suggested otherwise. Like winning the lottery or anything else that you’ve always thought would be great, the surprising thing is that it does not really change your life as much as you might expect.
What has been the hardest part of writing your latest book and how did you overcome it?My first book, A Dog Named Christmas, had an easy quick little hook: what would happen if, over Christmas, a family tried to find a home for all the dogs in their local animal shelter?” The hook evokes lots of fun scenes that seemed to write themselves. Christmas with Tucker is less plot driven and more character driven. It’s a coming of age story, about how a young man experiences his first Christmas after his father’s death. To write this story I had to keep “diving” into the character’s emotional center. It was hard, but in many ways it ended up being a more emotionally fulfilling work than my previous effort.
What is the best writing advice you ever got? The worst?I appreciate greatly Stephen King’s metaphor that writing is like an archeological dig. Sometimes, we get lucky and a really big bone is just beneath the surface, but most of the time, you have to perform lots of tedious digging, sifting, and sorting, to find anything of value. The only bad advice, at least for me, is anyone suggesting that they have a formula for writing a best seller. Even if there was such a thing, I like to think that all of the great stuff comes from a sacred place within us and not from a formula.
What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?I wish I had more professional help early on. Having an editor or a teacher of some sort is very valuable.
What book are you writing presently?I’m working on a sequel, but I’d love to do a legal thriller someday, even though it is far from anything I’ve ever done before.
What other books have you written, whether published or not?I have lots of projects is various stages of completion. Some may never come out of the box, but a few are screaming at me to let them out.
If time and money did not enter in the equation, what would be your dream?This one is easy. I’d love to be able to write full time and not worry about paying the bills.
What movie most impacted you as a kid? Why?I loved and still love “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Atticus Finch’s vision of what it means to be a man is a striking contrast from the John Wayne and James Bond type characters that I also grew up with. While I am at it, if you haven’t seen it, watch the movie Big Country. It’s another older Gregory Peck film that shows us a different kind of man, one that we could all look up to.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.It seems like various genres come and go with me. I really enjoy all spiritual books without worrying too much about what tradition they came from. Lately, I’ve read a bunch of Robert Parker’s Jesse Stone books and thought they were a lot of fun.
Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?For better or worse, I find myself reading things that I believe will be instructive and not just entertaining.
Other than the Bible, what is your all time favorite book?Wow, hard question. I think my favorite read “out-louds” were The Hobbit and Huck Finn.
How do you keep your balance in today’s busy world?It’s nice of you to think that I do! I am always working on it and never feeling like I have it quite right. I’ll let you know if I figure it out.
What can you tell authors who have been receiving only rejections from publishers?While it would be easy to say ‘just be persistent,’ I might also say that one definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result this time! Try something different. For example, a lot of first time writers want their first published project to be a five hundred page novel. Why not start trying to get some easier things published first?
What would you tell an aspiring writer?Have fun. Your joy will comes through on the pages. So does drudgery.
Is there an area in your writing that you are working on developing more?Attention to detail is always my biggest challenge. I get excited about telling the story and forget that on page 35 some character had green eyes and now on page 68 he’s shedding a tear from his baby blues.
If you could recommend only one ‘How To Writing Book’ what would it be?Stephen King’s book, On Writing, is excellent. For the most part, reading “How to Write Books” is a lot like reading “How to Paint” books. At some point, pick up the paint brush and just do it.
Tell us about your story.Christmas with Tucker is about growing-up. Early on, we all make decisions that affect who we are for the rest of our lives. Refusing to take the easy way out may be the hardest and most important lesson of all.
When thirteen year-old George McCray’s father dies, his mother and sister return to Minnesota to live with George’s maternal grandparents. George opts to stay behind for the rest of semester to take over where his dad left off--working on his father and grandfather’s Kansas dairy farm. With his dog Tucker at his side, George has to overcome the bleakest winter on record. To do so, he has to find a toughness that few men know. There is only one place to find it: his love for his family, his dog, and his community.
How did you choose your characters’ names?When I first read A Dog Named Christmas to my kids, they all started making noises about wanting a character named after them… With five kids, I had a great start on names!
What gave you the inspiration for this story?The “younger generation” has very limited opportunity to experience what a family farm was really like fifty years ago. I wanted to write a story that would preserve that bit of our history.
Are there any themes in Christmas with Tucker that you hope the reader sees?The book should appeal to all readers but especially to men and young male readers.
How do you choose your settings for each book?Kansas is not front and center for much on television. I was glad I could share that part of my life in my writing.
And what kinds of things can readers expect from your books?I really hope my books are inspirational to readers of all ages.
Introduce your story with the first page.If you would like to see a little more of the book, you might want to visit my blog on http://www.petfinder.com/blog/greg-kincaid/
Where can we find you on the web?Please visit my wegpage: http://www.gregkincaid.com